Celebrating Donna Myers

Donna Myers - 2017

Donna --Three Months Old

Donna -- Four Years Old

Donna -- Ten Years Old

Bob & Donna's Wedding - 1954
Bob & Donna in their
two-room appartment
in Chicago, IL 1955-1956

Donna, brother Neil and Mother 1959

I'll Teach You To Run!!! - 1960

Bob & Donna - Christmas 1983

Bob & Donna - 1974

Celebrating Donna Myers

Kae Mattingly
February 2017

Which lady in our church is a lifelong Presbyterian?  She attended grades 1-8 in a one room schoolhouse, and she was the only one in her grade.  She wanted to be an airline stewardess (a waitress in the sky).  She is a wife, mother, and grandmother.  She has sold peanuts, opened a ceramic shop with two friends, and taught art.   She started an egg ministry at First Presbyterian Church and as a result became a mortgage burner.  She is an elder, has been a volunteer and The Worthy Matron of the Kernersville Chapter 205 of the Eastern Star.  She is a published artist.  Today we Celebrate Donna Lou Ruff Myers.

Donna Lou was born December 7, 1935, the first child born to Harry and Margaret Rowan Ruff, in the Village of Collinsville, in York County, Pennsylvania.  The Village of Collinsville had a population of about 100 at the time.  Donna’s parents were married in 1933.  Soon they built a new house.  Donna was born there and lived there until she married.  Her mother lived there for 50 years.  She was a very strong and independent person, though she never drove a car.  When Donna turned 8, her little brother (Neil) was born.  When Donna was 13, her parents divorced.  Her mother was a nurse, and worked at the York County Hospital for 25 years.  In later years, she remarried and her new last name became Myers.

The family was active in church.  They attended Pine Grove Presbyterian Church.  Great-grandfather Ruff was a carpenter and built the church.  Great-grandfather Wheeler was an Irish Catholic and he married a Presbyterian woman.  They had 8 children, and one became a Presbyterian Minister.  Bob even became a Presbyterian when he married Donna, and they will soon celebrate 63 years of marriage.  Donna describes both sides of her family as “Presbyterian born, Presbyterian bred, and when I’m dead, I’ll be Presbyterian dead”.

As a young child Donna Lou liked to play with paper dolls and her baby dolls.  She also loved her coloring books and insisted on having “Crayola” crayons.  Her mother always emphasized the importance of manners.  One day her mother told her “Always remember your manners, you never know if someday you might by invited to the White House.”  “As a child, I was a happy little person.”

At age 5, Donna Lou started school.  The school was a one room schoolhouse, with grades 1-8.  It had a pot bellied stove for warmth and when you needed to go to the bathroom, you didn’t have to walk too far to the outhouse.  About 36-38 children attended the school.  At the end of the year, the teacher would give a present to the student who had done the best in their class for the year.  Donna Lou loved this because she was the only one in her class for the 8 years she attended there.  The only art project Donna could remember was in the 8th grade when she had to draw a basket of fruit.  All of Donna’s teachers attended her Church.  Donna attended Red Lion High School.  There were about 150 students and she had to change classes.  Donna said, “It was like being in a candy store, choice of friends and classes.”  She played the clarinet and was in the marching band.  She enjoyed her experiences in high school.  She graduated high school at age 17.

At about the age of six, Donna Lou’s family left Pine Grove Presbyterian Church to go to New Harmony Presbyterian Church, a smaller church, because it was closer.  She had the same Sunday School teacher from age six until she turned 17.  At age 14, she started singing in the choir.  Age 14 this was the beginning of 54 years of singing in the church choirs.  On her 6th birthday, Pearl Harbor happened.  She could tell by the looks on her family’s faces, something bad had occurred.

After graduating from high school, Donna decided she didn’t want to go to college.  She wanted to be an airline stewardess, a waitress in the skies.  She took an aptitude test.  After taking the test,  Donna was told she had no finger dexterity, and the test results said she should be a social worker.  At that time, the only choices women had were teachers, nurses or secretaries.  Four days after taking the test she was offered a job at York Corporation (they made air conditioners and refrigeration).

Two years later, in 1954, Donna married Bob.  When Donna was 14 years old, she met Bob when he played in the Red Lion Concert Band.  Donna would go to festivals (like church picnics) to listen to the band play.  Yes!  They graduated from the same high school.  But there is more to this story.  Donna, Bob, and all three of their children graduated from Red Lion High School.

Bob had five months left in the Navy.  He enrolled at Devry Technical School in Chicago.  Donna left her job at York Corporation and they headed to Chicago and found an apartment.  Bob took advantage of the GI Bill and two years later he had an Associate Degree in Electronics.  Donna needed a job.  Their landlady brought the newspaper to Donna every day so she could start looking.  There was a job at Time-Life Incorporated, looking for a key punch operator, starting at $50.00 a week.  She took the bus, took the test, and had a letter of recommendation from York Corporation.  She got the job as a trainee.  She started her six weeks of training.  In the morning she learned about pre-coding and in the afternoon she worked on machines.  After two weeks, she started working.  She was working in Production and Error Percentage.  She hated this job and she decided that after Christmas she would look for a new job.

She found her new adventure with Kiwanis International, a non-profit service organization.  She worked at the International Office.  It had a nice atmosphere here, and she met a lot of nice people,  Her job was Area Supervisor.  She had certain states she was responsible for (getting new memberships).  At this job Donna had to wear high heels.  She would wear her flats coming to work and would change into heels when she arrived.  At the end of the work day, she would change back into her flats to go home.  Donna sold peanuts every year for Kiwanis on Michigan Avenue.

In 1959, Bob and Donna moved back to York, and lived with Donna’s mom for a short time.  Bob got a job at Bendex Corporation (electronics), making $300.00 a month.  They got an apartment and lived there for two years.  In 1960, they bought a house in Collinsville and refurbished it.

Donna went back to visit people from her first job at York Corporation (now named York Division of Borg Warner), and left with a job working in the Key Punch Department.  Donna worked off and on for the same Corporation (under different names) five different times, over 25 years.

The 1960’s were the baby years.  In 1961, Marty was born.  Every year the school in town put on a play as a fundraiser.  Donna wasn’t working at the time, so the choir director at her church recommended her to direct the play.  The play “Old Doc”, was a huge success directed by our own Donna Myers.  In 1963 Claire Ann was born and in 1968 Lauren was born.  When Lauren was two years old, Donna’s mother looked after the children and Donna went back to work fulltime at York International in Sales Forecasting International Parts.  She worked there until she retired in 1980.  York International is known today as Johnson Controls.

In 1978, Donna and two of her friends opened a ceramics shop.  It was called M & K Ceramics.  The last ten years Donna lived in Collinsville, she was a part of the Chanceford Planning Commission.  Donna was the Township Supervisor.  Rules and regulations were needed in drawing up a zoning ordinance.  A committee of five had the job of writing up a comprehensive report of the township.  A zoning committee was formed as a result of their work.  In 1985, Bob moved to Kernersville.  He got transferred here because of his job (Amp Inc).  Donna stayed behind for one year so Lauren could finish her senior year of high school.  They moved into an apartment.  When Donna moved to Kernersville in 1986, she gave up the Ceramics Shop.

When Donna moved to Kernersville, she decided she wanted to learn Tole painting (Tole painting is the folk art of decorative painting on tin and wooden utensils, objects and furniture).   Donna found a Tole painting class at Forsyth Tech being taught by Jeanette Peace.  She enrolled for classes.  Later Jeanette started teaching in her home.  Donna continued to take classes from her at her home.  Donna has also taken classes from 18 National Artist throughout the years.  She studied under David Jansen for 12 years.  Donna has shown her art through Kernersville Arts and Crafts Guild.  Teachers from Guilford Tech asked her to teach art classes there, and she did for three years.  In 2001, she started teaching art at First Presbyterian and continued teaching art here for 16 years. (Click here for more information about the Painting Ministry).  In 2009, she was awarded the distinction of Teacher of Decorative Art.  She had to take a test and make of video of herself teaching an art project.  Donna is a published artist in the Society of Decorative Painters Magazine.  She also painted glassware for John David’s Gift Gallery for nine years.

Donna has also volunteered at the Shepherd Center.  While there she started the Companion Sitting Program, which is still going on today.  She is a member of the Eastern Star.  She has served as Worthy Matron of Kernersville Chapter 205 Eastern Star.  She and Bob have served as District Matron and Patron of the 16th District Eastern Star.  Donna has been the candy fundraiser person for the Eastern Star, selling chocolate covered peanuts.

In her spare time, Donna likes to travel.  Twice she has taken a group from church to Pennsylvania for a three to four day adventure.  Donna and Bob enjoyed a ten day trip to Alaska.  In 1998, Bob and Donna took a week to Europe, visiting the countries of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and France.  Three years later Donna took a group of 14, from the church, for a guided tour of the countries of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and France.  In 2003, Donna and Bob went to New Orleans for five days.  For the last 41 years, they have enjoyed their yearly visit to Nags Head.

Bob and Donna joined First Presbyterian Church on August 3, 1986.  She was ordained an elder on January 30, 1994.  She has served on Session twice.  In 1990, she served on the Pastor Nominating  Committee.  She worked on the Personnel Committee for 18 years.  She has served on all committees except Stewardship and Finance.  Donna is a member of the PGA’s.  She sang in the church choir for 26 years.  Her greatest accomplishment at First Presbyterian is the “eggs.”



In 1991, the church built a beautiful new fellowship hall, along with acquiring a $250,000 mortgage.  One evening Bob and Donna were having dinner with Bob’s boss, Kent Conrad, who lived in Harrisburg Pennsylvania.  Donna was always looking for ways to raise money, so she asked Kent if he had any good ideas.  A few weeks later he sent Donna a newsletter from a church in Lykens, Pennsylvania and information about their Easter Egg project.  The church was producing 214,000 eggs each year, and sold them for 45 cents each.

Conrad was able to get the name and phone  number of a person at the Lykens Church.  Donna inquired  about their project.  The church agreed to send information about the eggs, including the recipe, asking that the recipe never to revealed to anyone.  Today it is still a very guarded secret.

Donna called Norma Stikeleather  to see if she would like to try her hand at making the eggs.  Norma’s kitchen was larger than Donna’s and cat hair doesn’t show as much as dog’s hair, so it was decided to work at Norma’s house. Bob and Tom took the first eggs to work to sell, returning  with a thumbs up on the eggs. 

Supplies and materials were obtained.  They assembled a crew of workers from the retired people in the church, and this led to the organization of the PGA’s today.  For two weeks eggs were made at Norma’s house, until the kitchen in the new fellowship hall was completed.  Operation then moved to the fellowship hall. 

The first year they made a profit of $3,000, and each year the sales grew.  In 1999, they raised $114,000, to help retire the mortgage debt early.  Donna said, “To outsiders they are just very good chocolate Easter Eggs.  To us they have become a powerful witness as to what God can do when everyone works together.


My three children and three grandchildren are my greatest joy, and starting the Egg Ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Kernersville
To Thine Own Self Be True…


Bob & Donna - 1987



Bob & Donna - 2017